A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Woman who wants to live like The Flintstones faces backlash
In today's ABW there's weirdo neighbors, Quentin Tarantino, Black Widow reviews, The Sopranos prequel trailer, and more.
There's always one house in every neighbourhood where things aren't quite right. There's that neighbour with too many water fountains, that one old guy who started feeding cats and now has thirty cats all hanging around his house all day, and then there's that woman who built her house to look like it's from Bedrock.
Florence Fang lives in a fancy San Francisco suburb and had her house designed to resemble The Flintstones home. Surrounding it were statuses of The Flintstones and dinosaurs. The picture below is the actual house. It isn't a model.
The town sued her. She counter-sued. An agreement has been reached. The house remains. A victory for neighbourhood oddballs everywhere.
The smart move, frankly, would be for any cinema playing The Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark to sell plates of gabagool at the candy bar.
Expect a lot of attention on Michael Gandolfini taking over the role of Tony Soprano from his late father James.
This week I am starting my rewatch of The Sopranos - I should be able to get through the show comfortably before The Many Saints of Newark hits cinemas (and HBO Max) from Oct 1.
Gangs of London season 2 has entered production. Read: TV Insider
Recently cancelled series For Life will get a limited run on IMDbTV - if it performs well, the Amazon-owned streamer will commission a third season. Read: Deadline
Ethan Hawke has joined the cast of the Netflix film Knives Out 2. Read: Dark Horizons
The international roll-out of HBO Max gets serious today as it rolls out to 39 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Read: thefutoncritic
It was only a matter of time. Kelly Bishop joins the cast of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel in season 4. Read: @MaiselTV
Matthew Rhys, Matthew Goode, James Purefoy, and Dominic West lead a third season of The Wine Show when it debuts July 29. Read: thefutoncritic
Nippon TV has had a management shake-up. Read: Variety
Good Omens has been renewed for a second season by Amazon & the BBC. Read: C21
The reviews are in for Black Widow... errrgggghhhhh
The home office of Always Be Watching is in Sydney, Australia where a number of us are wondering - if we are currently in a 2-week lockdown to clamp down on the delta strain of stupid virus COVID-19, how are we going to see Black Widow at the cinema next Thursday? The answer is to either be patient and wait for the lockdown to end, or to buy it as a Disney+ Premium Access title and stream it at home.
Reviews for the film, however, reviews are mixed, erring on the side of slightly negative.
Black Widow goes full Marvel in its bloated final act, seemingly running down a checklist of Kevin Feige demands: A giant floating fortress! Unconvincing digital explosions! A mysterious masked adversary that’s basically The Winter Soldier redux! Not that audiences will necessary mind the inevitable tilt towards formula. It’s been two whole years, after all, since they’ve boarded one of these theme-park rides. But the reversion to stock studio conventions is a reminder that no matter what genre shades they apply, these movies tend to color within the lines.
But while Black Widow starts off strong, kicking the action off with a dark, propulsive mystery that promised to unearth long-awaited revelations about both Natasha’s character and her past, the last half of the film completely squanders it. Natasha assembles her own misfit group of allies to take down the Red Room, crowding the screen again and unwittingly becoming a supporting player in her own movie. While the twisted found family dynamics between Natasha, Yelena, and their traitorous “parents” are a wonderful showcase for all four extremely talented actors, Black Widow feels like it misses the chance to give Natasha her due.
Owen Gleiberman from Variety is a bit more keen on it:
“Black Widow,” which kicks off Phase Four of the MCU, doesn’t feel like the first stand-alone “Black Widow” film. It feels more like the second, lost-in-the-wilderness “Black Widow” film. But I’m here to say that’s a good thing. Most of us have seen enough superpowers to last a lifetime. “Black Widow” spins on the powers that come from within.
An oral history of the Willy Wonka chocolate river scene
When you woke up this morning, I doubt many of you knew then that you would be enthralled by an oral history of the chocolate river scene in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. And yet here we are.
Michael had to fall into this disgusting stuff that had been sitting there for three weeks. It had the lights on it, and people were emptying their coffee cup dregs into it.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - the novel
Ordinarily I would spit in the face of anyone who would suggest doing something as repugnant to me like reading a book for pleasure, but today we see the release of the new Quentin Tarantino novelization of his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The book serves as an adaptation of the film, a prequel, and a sequel. It also takes detours into the filmmakers own youth and into the fake TV show filmed in the movie.
On The Big Picture podcast, Tarantino reported that he started working on a novelization of Reservoir Dogsbefore realising his time would be better spent on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. On this week's Real Time with Bill Maher he commented that he had considered remaking Reservoir Dogs as his final film.